Can a novel computerized cognitive screening test provide additional information for early detection of Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Nov;10(6):790-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Mar 18.


Background: Virtual reality testing of everyday activities is a novel type of computerized assessment that measures cognitive, executive, and motor performance as a screening tool for early dementia. This study used a virtual reality day-out task (VR-DOT) environment to evaluate its predictive value in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Methods: One hundred thirty-four patients with MCI were selected and compared with 75 healthy control subjects. Participants received an initial assessment that included VR-DOT, a neuropsychological evaluation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and event-related potentials (ERPs). After 12 months, participants were assessed again with MRI, ERP, VR-DOT, and neuropsychological tests.

Results: At the end of the study, we differentiated two subgroups of patients with MCI according to their clinical evolution from baseline to follow-up: 56 MCI progressors and 78 MCI nonprogressors. VR-DOT performance profiles correlated strongly with existing predictive biomarkers, especially the ERP and MRI biomarkers of cortical thickness.

Conclusions: Compared with ERP, MRI, or neuropsychological tests alone, the VR-DOT could provide additional predictive information in a low-cost, computerized, and noninvasive way.

Keywords: Computerized cognitive assessment; Computerized testing; Dementia; Early detection; Psychometrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • User-Computer Interface